August 17, 2011

More Car Talk

I'm not going to sleep tonight. I'm going to dream about those cars ______Jeff

How did I miss this? All summer long, local owners of classic cars gather in a Skokie parking lot for a weekly, free, informal car show, sponsored by the local classic car club.

When Jeff and I happened to drive by last week, Jeff nearly leapt from the moving car. So we had to stop.

How perfect is this arrangement? Turn Jeff loose for an hour to revel in his element and hang out with a bunch of other guys who love to talk about their cars!

Nice note from the organizers of the show:
You so made my day! We work really hard to make a fun show for everyone and getting your note and pictures really makes it all worthwhile.

See you next Monday!

So Jeff set up his own mini car show in the basement.

Thing One, Thing Two

When people ask why I don't do outings with both boys together, I am hard-pressed to explain. Do they egg each other on? Is it because they set each other off? Um, sort of. Yes. Not exactly.

It has something to do with the extreme difficulty of having two closely-bonded, yet incredibly socially-inept children.

Recently before our daily phone call to Hart, I cautioned Jeff, "Hart has been having a rough time. We must really try to help him feel better."

So Jeff obediently took the phone, and without preamble said, "I got two new cool things this weekend."

SIGH. At least now, this kind of interaction is played out in two different zip codes. When both boys were here with me, no matter how angry, hysterical, or unhinged one was (or even, both were), they insisted on being in the same room, ideally occupying the same square meter of space.

I have tried to help Jeff make kinder, more empathic and socially-aware choices--if you were sad, would hearing that make you feel better or worse?--Jeff understands, but the concept doesn't stick.

August 15, 2011

Children With Autism, Connecting via Transit (NYT)

Children With Autism, Connecting via Transit

Front page article of the Sunday New York Times!

Jeff and I have been to the London Transport Museum and we make a pilgrimage to the Petersen Automotive Museum whenever we are in Los Angeles. It is interesting that museum officials are now catering to this specific target audience.

Jeff is older than the children featured in the article, so I have some perspective. I applaud the parents and museum staff for nurturing these kids' passion in positive pro-social way. However, we parents also have to urge our kids with stereotypical interests to see other things, try other experiences.

It may have been charming ten years ago that Jeff liked to talk about cars, but a decade later, I still have to cue him to change the subject or respond to the topic at hand.

A wise parent once told me that we have to give our autistic kids time in their world, but on the other hand, we have to patiently insist that they spend time in our boring, neuro-typical world, too.